The big celebration launching the northern Swedish city of Umea’s term as European Capital of Culture got underway at 5 PM on Saturday, February 1. Along for the ride were 30 Ars Electronica Futurelab quadcopters, which took to the sky for a fiveminute performance during which they formed the Umea logo and the configuration of stars on the EU flag.
This precisely choreographed flight under frigid conditions presented quite a challenge. “Sending a quadcopter swarm aloft in such low temperatures was a pretty tricky assignment, especially with respect to the performance of the batteries,” noted Chris Bruckmayr, Spaxels Business Manager at the Ars Electronica Futurelab. “Our flight during this show was the first we’ve ever attempted under such conditions.” The quadcopters were part of the show produced by phase7 performing.arts. It was commissioned by Umea 2014 European Capital of Culture.